Supercuts Solar Power - Wilson St, Brewer, Maine
The 18.3kw solar electric array on Supercuts’ Brewer location is expected to provide 100% of the energy efficient building’s electric loads!

On busy Wilson street in Brewer, perhaps the most striking building is the new Supercuts, which boasts a bold architectural design and a 18.3kw grid-tied solar electric system. According to building owner Carol Epstein, this is all by design.

“I wanted it to be visible, a statement, an advertisement – so everyone could see the panels,” she says in a Bangor Daily News article on the project. “We could have done a flat roof and put panels on a little stand, but we really wanted to show off the panels, so we did this big, pitched roof.”

In addition to making a strong environmental statement, economic conditions were right to make the Supercuts project a reality. With a 30% federal tax grant, accelerated depreciation which amounted to nearly another 30%, and a $2,000 state rebate, the project was reduced to close to a third of its original cost… Add to this a lower than ever cost of installing panels (around $4.5/watt installed for this project), and you have a very powerful case for solar electricity!

David M. Fitzpatrick of the Bangor Daily reported in a special section:

When Epstein Commercial Real Estate entered into talks with Supercuts, Epstein found the company’s vision of energy efficiency a good match for hers, and she and her team took the challenge of creating the new store very seriously. “We looked at their electric bills for three of their typical stores around New England to figure out how much electricity they use,” Epstein said. “We sized the system to that.”

Epstein Commercial Real Estate has been pushing for energy efficiency in several of its properties in the past four years, doing such things as installing energy-efficient lighting inside and outside, increasing insulation, and adding timers and motion sensors. “We’ve really looked at the whole spectrum with heating, lighting, air conditioning, insulation on all our properties,” Epstein said. “I think we’ve put in close to a thousand new lighting fixtures.”

… In addition to the solar panels, the building is very green in its design. It features big windows for plenty of natural light, low-watt fluorescent lighting, supplemental LED lighting, and many other features. As for the solar array, a remote control that looks like an electronic Rolodex allows you to flip through data screens that report the electricity being generated, or what was generated that day, week, month, and so on.

“Our tenant is very excited about it,” Epstein said. “They have a number of SuperCuts all around New England, and … they were designing this building — we were all designing it — to be their showcase in the area for SuperCuts.”

Read the complete Bangor Daily News special section, or another article which headlined the Business section, Here comes the sun: Cost, rebates making solar an option.

And of course, be sure to check out Supercuts next time you’re in Brewer. ReVision staffers report that nothing feels quite the same as a blow dry when you know the power is from the sun!